Monday, November 21, 2016

Choosing Joy - Part III

Thanks so much for reading today! I’ve really enjoyed writing this series, it’s been such a great reminder during this holiday season of what’s really important. I hope it’s helping you to choose joy!

The last thing I’ve identified that often steals my joy is expectations. I’ve heard it put this way:

Expectations – reality = disappointment

Isn’t that so true? When our reality is different or less than our expectations, it quickly steals our joy and makes us frustrated, annoyed, grouchy or even depressed. We often do this with our most important relationships, with our spouse, children and friends. Going in with expectations for how people should behave or how things should go can quickly leave us disappointed.

The holidays are the perfect setup for the above equation, right? I remember being newly married and expecting the holidays to be a certain way. When they didn’t turn out as I had expected, I felt sad and disappointed. But if I had gone in without any expectations and with the mindset of being thankful and joyful either way, I wouldn’t have been so upset. Have you been there too?

I’ve recently faced a similar crossroads of letting expectations steal my joy and ruin my holiday: We bought a new gas range in October of last year and it worked perfectly until mid-July. It made a loud rattling sound that made me think it was about to fly out of my kitchen! It works, in that it bakes food, but it sounds horrible. To make a very long story short, we’ve been going back and forth with the manufacturer since August about getting it repaired or replaced.

Next week is Thanksgiving and I invited family over to my house. My expectation was that I would have a working oven to bake a turkey. My reality is that I don’t. So, I decided to get rid of the expectation, accept my reality and keep my joy and peace. So I’m ordering my fully-cooked Thanksgiving meal from Albertsons and will not have to spend my entire morning cooking. (This disappointment is even a blessing in disguise!)

Remember: Joy isn’t happiness, it’s choosing to be at peace with your purpose in your current season.

So this Thanksgiving and Christmas, don’t let expectations set you up for frustration. We often can’t determine the outcome of cooking, political discussion with your relatives or how your children will act as you make the rounds, but we can choose our response. Having a flexible attitude, determined to choose joy no matter what happens, is the best way to handle the holidays. And remember, most holiday mix-ups and mess-ups make the best family memories, right?

Happy Thanksgiving, friends! I’m so thankful for you!

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